I’m not very good at telling people how much they mean to me. Mostly because when I try, I’ll get two words out before the tears start flowing and i’m squeaking out the rest in my best Alvin the Chipmunk voice. For that reason, Pastor Kip and Cheryl Potter have no idea just how much they do.
Pastor Kip was my youth pastor. He is also the best Pastor I’ve had. (Don’t tell my Dad I said that.) Growing up in the church as a preacher’s kid, you would think that I’d be an angel. Always on my best behavior, and paying attention to every word. That wasn’t exactly the case. I have a short attention span, and even if it looked like I was listening, my mind had a tendency to wander. My butt was in the pew, but my mind was on how I was going to convince my dad to let me hang out at my friend’s house after church. It was easy to lose me. A word or reference that I didn’t understand could throw me way off track. Once the train left the station, it went around the world before it made it back to the sermon.
Things were different with Pastor Kip. I don’t know what it was, but he had the ability to hold my attention better than any authority figure I’ve had. Not only did he hold my attention, but I actually understood. He spoke in such a way that I wasn’t left scratching my head, trying to decipher what in the world he was talking about. I got it. I wasn’t just listening, I was learning. Every message in some way could be applied to my own life.
Another thing that stood out about him is how passionate he is. Pastor Kip showed me what it meant to be on fire for God. Maybe it was this passion that got my attention in the first place. It wasn’t a “here is your lesson, see you next week” kind of youth group. It was something much bigger than that. In that youth group I became fully aware of the presence of God. For the first time in my life I was slain in the spirit. In these crucial teenage years my relationship with God evolved from a Sunday School understanding to being completely in love, enthralled, and on fire for Christ.
Of course, Pastor Kip wasn’t the only one who made such an impact. His wife, Cheryl, played a very important role as well. Outside of my own family, these two were the first example I witnessed of how a Godly marriage should be. Mrs Cheryl was my role model. In the time she had with the girls of the youth group, she took us under her wing and showed us what it meant to be a proverbs 31 woman. She showed us through her own devotion to her husband, and to the Lord. I’ll never forget one purity weekend when we made a complete notebook of our wedding day wishes. We wrote out specific requirements our future husbands should meet. A few on my list were “tall”, “strong”, “In love with God”, “No matter how bad his voice, he must sing to me.” Ironically, the first time Josh sang to me was the moment I fell in love.
It goes without saying that things could have turned out completely different for me if I didn’t have the influence of Pastor Kip and Cheryl in my life. I am beyond thankful for the years I had with them. And I was completely heartbroken when they left. When I heard they were visiting this past Sunday, I knew I couldn’t miss it for the world. It was such an amazing service. I could feel God’s presence the moment worship began. And i’m pretty sure I cried all of my makeup off before worship was over. Just as always, Pastor’s sermon directly related to my life. He spoke about John the Baptist. [Watch the sermon HERE
.] One thing that really stuck out to me was that even though I’m not being healed right now, someone, somewhere is. If I ever get discouraged or tired of praying for my own healing…..I can pray for somebody else’s. And even with the possibility that my end could be worse than my beginning, I know that’s okay because God is using me. Just like John the Baptist, God is using me to prepare a way for others. Leave it to my high school youth pastor to teach me endurance.